For some insane reason, The Flatmate, Calv, Magic, Dr D and myself are all off on holiday in a few weeks time to Svalbard. Officially a part of Norway, it is Europe's northernmost territory, and is way inside the Arctic circle, being about 1000 km from the North Pole. In fact, I think it's as far north as you can get before they slap the title "explorer" on you. The whole territory has only 5 towns, the smallest one having a grand population of 10 people and the "capital" having a population of 1,800... My last job employed more people than that!
The fact that there will be no sun for the whole time we're there means we will hopefully see the Aurora borealis, which I think is the main reason for us going... The fact that the average temperature is about -12C, which goes down to about -30C with windchill, is not the thing that's freaking me out the most... It's the fact that for years now I've always thought of polar bears as cute and cuddly animals, who drink bottles of coke, nuzzle their young, are romantic to their partners, and love to give humans hugs. However, the 500 or so white cutie pies which are on the territory are the biggest threat to people, and if one tries to attack you, you are advised to keep shooting it until it stops. Killed by lead poisoning. Thus, you are told to never leave a settlement without carrying a rifle.
Which you can hire.
Without the need of a license or even the knowledge of how to use one....
So in honour of this new found polar bear fear, this is my Friday Moment of Zen: Of all the freezing, north pole equipped, fuck off hard core weather gear I will be wearing in Svaldbard, not one item will be a hat, shaped like a seal.